Sunday, April 21, 2024

Russia calls for relocation of UN headquarters to Geneva or Vienna

Russia would prefer that the UN headquarters be moved to a more neutral place, such as Geneva or Vienna, Pyotr Ilychev, the director of the department for international organizations at the Russian Foreign Ministry, told TASS.

“We, of course, would prefer that it [the UN headquarters] be moved to a more neutral location, Geneva or Vienna, but many member countries don’t want to leave New York. There are a lot of reasons for this, including that they already have the real estate, it’s hard for them to have two offices, so they have everything in New York. These are rather reasons of financial and economic nature,” he said.

“We are thinking about it. Firstly, it’s a shorter trip, and secondly, the Austrians and the Swiss are more neutral, even despite what they are doing now. But we have not found support from the majority of member countries,” Ilyichev added.

Earlier, the delegation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a lot of problems getting US visas to travel to New York to participate in the UN Security Council’s events on April 24 and 25. Representatives from the Russian news media weren’t issued visas at all. The US didn’t provide any explanation as to the motivations for this decision. In response to this, Lavrov said that the United States was “scared” and assured reporters that Russia “will not forget or forgive” this incident.

Lavrov chaired Monday’s session of the UN Security Council, dedicated to “effective multilateralism.” In his opening remarks, he outlined the nature of the current conflict, which he said was really between the UN Charter and the “rules-based order” of the collective West.

Lavrov also noted that the US had effectively denied visas to his accredited media pool, a move to which Moscow has vowed to respond in such a way “to make Americans remember that things should not be done in such a fashion.”

The UN-centric system is going through a deep crisis caused by some members’ desire to replace international law with their “rules-based order,” Lavrov said.

Such “rules” are invented ad hoc and applied to stop independent development. They are enforced through means ranging from military force to embargoes, financial sanctions, confiscation of property, “destruction of critical infrastructure” – likely a reference to Nord Stream sabotage – and “manipulation of universally agreed norms and procedures.”

The WTO has been paralyzed, market mechanisms have collapsed, and the IMF has been turned into “an instrument for achieving the objectives of the US and its allies.”

“In a desperate attempt to assert its dominance by punishing the disobedient, the US has moved to destroy globalization, which for many years it extolled as the greatest good of all mankind,” stated the Russian foreign minister. Now the US and its allies blacklist anyone who dissents from their “golden billion” and tell the rest of the world, “those who are not with us are against us.”

Yet the “Western minority” has no right to speak for the entire world, Lavrov said. Its “rules-based order” amounts to rejection of sovereign equality, the key principle of the UN Charter, as evidenced by EU commissioner Josep Borrell’s infamous statement about the European “garden” and the “jungle” outside it.

In addition to the string of US military “adventures” from Yugoslavia and Iraq to Libya, the worst violation of the UN Charter was its meddling in the affairs of post-Soviet states, Lavrov continued. As examples, he brought up the “color revolutions” in Georgia and Kyrgyzstan and the 2014 coup in Kiev. When the UN sought to stop the ensuing war by endorsing the Minsk Agreements, they were “trampled by Kiev and its Western masters, who recently cynically and even proudly admitted that they never intended to fulfill them, but only wanted to buy time to pump Ukraine with weapons against Russia,” the Russian foreign minister added.

Today “it is clear to everyone” that the Ukraine conflict isn’t about Ukraine at all, but “about how international relations will be built: through crafting a stable consensus based on a balance of interests, or through aggressive and explosive promotion of hegemony,” Lavrov continued. Russia has “honestly said what we are fighting for” in Ukraine, he added. The goals of its military operation are to eliminate the threat to its security posed by NATO, and protect the people whose rights recognized by international conventions have been systematically violated, by a regime that seeks to “expel and exterminate” them.

The West has made a “brazen attempt to subjugate” the UN by taking over its secretariats and other international institutions, Lavrov told the Security Council. Washington and its allies have abandoned diplomacy and demanded a battlefield showdown within the halls of the UN, created to prevent the horrors of war. Genuine multilateralism “requires the UN to adapt to objective trends” of emerging multipolarity in international relations, the Russian foreign minister argued. The Security Council should be reformed to increase the representation of Africa, Asia and Latin America, as the current “exorbitant overrepresentation” of the West “undermines the principle of multilateralism.”

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